Dallas-Fort Worth continues to percolate, so it’s not surprising that we received a record number of nominations for D CEO’s 2023 Commercial Real Estate Awards. But it wasn’t just the volume of entries that made judging this year’s program such a challenge; it was the caliber of the projects and deals and the impact they are destined to have on our region for years to come. It is a testament to the strength and vibrancy of the North Texas commercial real estate market that D CEO editors had such a difficult time of things. But, after the debates ended and dust settled, we selected winners in 22 categories, from Community Impact to Executive of the Year. On the following pages, learn more about the transactions, projects, and dealmakers who stood out.
Excellence in Construction + Engineering
President and CEO, Schmidt & Stacy Consulting Engineers
Growing up in Houston, Dave Schmidt began his career in the oil and gas industry. But he found that what he enjoyed most about working for an energy general contractor was digging into the blueprints. He realized he wanted the opportunity to start projects from scratch. So, he moved to Dallas and found work as a mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineer. One of his first projects was The Crescent, a Rosewood Property Co. development that helped pioneer Uptown. “Once I experienced the taste of seeing a project like that take shape, I was hooked, and the next one could not come soon enough,” Schmidt says. For more than 30 years, the president and CEO of Schmidt & Stacy has experienced that same fulfillment on project after project, with recent work including the PGA of America headquarters in Frisco and the East Quarter in Dallas. “Being based in such a dynamic market as Dallas-Fort Worth is a major advantage for us,” Schmidt says.
Finalists: AECOM Hunt, Kimley-Horn
Deal of the Year
Betting that a new $3.5 billion Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will elevate Dallas as it competes with other major meeting and event destinations.
The current Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will soon see a wrecking ball. In its place, will emerge a new state-of-the-art convention center. Back in November, voters approved Proposition A, which called for a 2 percent increase to the city’s hotel occupancy tax. Those funds will help cover the estimated $3.5 billion price tag associated with the new convention center, which will be transformative for downtown’s west side. Breaking ground in 2024 and with an expected opening date of 2029, current plans call for more than 2.5 million square feet of space. VisitDallas’ CEO Craig Davis says the project is crucial if the city wants to remain competitive in attracting more corporate meetings and annual events. It has already secured a commitment from the North American Spine Society to host its 2031 conference in Dallas upon completion.
Best New Mixed-Use Project
Developed by Hall Group
Craig Hall acquired farmland in the far northern outpost of Frisco in the 1980s. He pioneered the city’s office market when he developed his first project on the property in the late 1990s. Now, he’s bringing his long-term vision to life by transforming the 162-acre campus into true mixed-use, with a $500 million initial phase that includes a 224-room boutique hotel, a 19-story luxury multifamily tower, a 10,000-square-foot restaurant, 16-story office tower, and the nearly 6-acre Kaleidoscope Park. The expansion will create a flow from the sprawling development to The Star, its neighbor to the north. One thing that won’t change, though, is Hall’s longtime commitment to incorporating nature and world-class artwork into his various projects. Key players on the first phase of the HALL Park expansion include HKS, WDG, Merriman Anderson Architects, Waldrop + Nichols Studio, OJB Landscape Architecture, Austin Commercial, and Andres Construction.
Finalists: Fields Frisco, The Greenbelt, Maple Terrace
Best Redevelopment or Renovation
Completing the all-important work-live-play trifecta, The Manufacturing District in Dallas’ Design District offers a trendy office alternative to Uptown and downtown.
The Design District is known for some of the newest and hottest restaurants in town. Several multifamily developers have added luxury apartments to the mix. Now, Quadrant Investment Properties’ Chad Cook is putting the submarket on the office map, acquiring assets from five groups over the past 18 months. The developer also completed a $2 million renovation to The International, a large showroom and retail center and has landed anchor tenants like Alto—with more office projects in the works for the thriving district.
Finalists: Frisco Public Library, Lincoln Centre, The Hill
Best Industrial Lease
One of the country’s largest corrugated packaging manufacturers, Pratt Industries will bring 150 new jobs to Cedar Hill with its 1.1 million-square-foot lease at Hillwood’s The High Point 67 industrial park. The company is teaming up with the city and local schools on an employee training and job development program, and it plans to invest more than $200 million in equipment, inventory, and building improvements for the plant. JLL negotiated the industrial lease with Hillwood.
Finalists: Crate & Barrel, Its Logistics Fort Worth, Samsung, Target at Alliance Center East 1, TIPP Distributors
Best Office Property Sale
Trammell Crow Center
A stunning, $182 million repositioning of Trammell Crow Center managed by Stream Realty Partners brought a new energy and improved walkability to Ross Avenue—and helped push triple-net lease rates from about $23 to $40 per square foot. This led to strong investor interest when the iconic, 50-story tower went to market. California-based Regent Properties opened a second headquarters in Dallas after it prevailed in its quest to buy the building, paying a reported $615 million for the 1.2 million-square-foot office tower.
Finalists: HQ53, The Luminary, McKinney & Olive, ExxonMobil Headquarters
Best Retail Lease or Project
Uptown’s crown jewel Crescent Court inks retailer Stanley Korshak to 15-year deal.
In a time when more than a third of department stores are shuttering, Dallas-based luxury apparel retailer Stanley Korshak is betting on the future with a new 15-year lease at Crescent Court in Uptown Dallas. The lease was executed by tenant representatives Steve Lieberman and David Fazio of The Retail Connection. John Zogg and Tony Click from Crescent Real Estate was the in-house representative for the landlord.
Finalists: 3 Nations Brewing Co., HEB Plano, Poco Fiasco
Commercial Real Estate Executive of the Year
Bob Shibuya’s (CEO, Mohr Partners) career in commercial real estate began in California more than 30 years ago. He since held posts with major players, including CBRE, DTZ, and Trammell Crow Co. In 2017, he led the management buyout of Dallas-based Mohr Partners from founder Bob Mohr. Today, the firm has more than 200 employees in 24 offices, providing real estate advisory services in every U.S. state and more than 40 countries worldwide. It is also the world’s largest certified Minority Business Enterprise by the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Bill Burton, Hillwood
“During my career, I’ve learned that thinking you’re the smartest person in the room is a bad idea, even if you are the only person in the room.”
Kim Butler, HALL Group
“If you work hard on the front end to hire high-performing servant leaders, then your team will go a great distance because everyone is pulling for each other.”
Chris Faulkner, CAF Cos.
“I always try to remember that everyone is your customer and that it’s important to do the right thing. If you don’t, you certainly risk the consequences.”
Grant Pruitt, Whitebox Real Estate
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I like to move fast but building a business and career takes persistence, hard work, and time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Daniel Taylor, Colliers
“Follow your passion and figure out what your gifts are and what brings you joy in life—and you will never have to ‘work’ another day in your life.”
Best Hospitality Project
Harwood Hospitality Group’s flagship hotel—named Hôtel Swexan, opening in 2023—promises “the confluence of Texan charm and international European flair.” The moniker comes from the blend of Swiss and Texan cultures and is a nod to Harwood International’s multi-generational Swiss-Texan heritage. Harwood’s founder, Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, was born and raised in Geneva before moving to Texas in 1979 to pursue a career in real estate. As with all of Harwood’s properties, art and design will be at the forefront of the new project. The 22-story tower is the third building in the Harwood District designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The hotel’s interiors, which will be done by Harwood’s in-house design team, are inspired by a classical 19th Century Parisian residence, offering “comfortable yet elegant furniture and intricate, hand-carved stone and wooden fireplaces on every floor.”
Finalists: The Las Colinas Resort, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Omni PGA Frisco Resort, Stockyards Hotel
Excellence in Architecture
President and CEO, Interprise Design
Commercial interiors executive Karyn Martin says she didn’t choose the design business, it chose her. After starting out with Dallas-based Interprise Design more than 25 years ago as the head of human resources, Martin worked her way up to chief operations officer in 2017 before being named president and CEO in 2019—shortly after the passing of founder Katie Berg. “The thing I enjoy most about commercial interior design business is watching the transformation of a space,” Martin says. “The aesthetic of a building can invoke a visceral response that can be anywhere from exhilarating to off-putting. A good design can improve the financial course of a business and improve productivity because people respond to aesthetics. The bottom line is that real estate is all about creating spaces for people to live their lives, and great design can have a very powerful impact.”
Finalists: 5G Studio Collaborative, led by Scott Lowe; Merriman Anderson Architects, led by Milton Anderson; and Overland Partners, led by Bryan Trubey
Best Land Deal
2727 Turtle Creek
At 5.5 acres, 2727 Turtle Creek is one of the largest remaining undeveloped properties along the Turtle Creek corridor. But in June, luxury apartment developer UDR snatched up the high-profile tract of land and announced plans to construct residential towers. JLL’s Jonathan Carrier, Michael Swaldi, Jasmin Ammons, and Trey Morsbach represented the seller, the Prescott Group, in the transaction.
Finalists: Lesso Mall, Liberty Hills Anna, Mountain Creek, Pilot Point/Celina, Southgate Marketplace
Best Community Impact Award
At the edge of the Cedars neighborhood near South Dallas, The Longhorn Ballroom sits near the northern edge of the Trinity Forest, adjacent to the river.
Its neighbors include scrap yards, a concrete batch plant, tire shops, and the scattered liquor stores that now populate the radius around where Riverfront Boulevard dead-ends. Enter Edwin Cabaniss, the man behind the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff and The Heights Theater in Houston, who purchased the Longhorn in 2021 after its previous owners’ attempt to renovate the property in 2017 ended in bankruptcy and lawsuits. Boosted by a $4.1 million incentives package passed last September by Dallas’ City Council, the Longhorn will ride again as musical acts Asleep at the Wheel, Morgan Wade, and Emmy Lou Harris will take the historic stage in the first announced concerts this spring.
Finalists: City of Dallas Fire Station No. 59, The Obsidian Portfolio, The Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Museum and Learning Center
Best Commercial Property Sale
Purchased by Trademark Property Co.
Last March, after an extensive and competitive national marketing effort by Cushman & Wakefield, Trademark Property Co. emerged as the winning bidder for Lincoln Square, a 470,000-square-foot power center on 45 acres on Collins Street in Arlington. The seasoned Fort Worth retail player plans to invest more than $150 million in the next few years to transform the tired and aging center into a pedestrian-oriented, live-work-shop-play destination to reinvigorate the project. The City of Arlington is stepping up with more than $14 million in grants to support the redevelopment and help make it a go-to destination in Tarrant County.
Finalists: 820 Exchange, Bison Grove, 821-1075 Foch Street, The Obsidian Portfolio
Best New Industrial Project
TCC, 35 Eagle
Trammell Crow Co. and PGIM Real Estate have teamed up on a third phase at TCC 35 Eagle, adding five buildings totaling 2.1 million square feet along Interstate 35-W in North Fort Worth. The first two phases of the project totaled 3.8 million square feet, with Amazon and Southern Glazer’s as part of the tenant mix. One of the largest active industrial developments in the Alliance submarket, this third phase will be LEED-certified upon completion. Along with the developers, key players include Alliance Architects, engineer Halff Associates, and FA Peinado, which served as general contractor.
Finalists: DFW Commerce Center, MP Materials Corp., TCC Cedar Alt
Best Suburban Office Lease
TIAA at the Star
Dallas-Fort Worth is quickly becoming known as the “Wall Street of the South,” thanks in part to Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association’s new 500,000-square-foot campus at The Star in Frisco, which will spur the creation of 2,000 new jobs. Fischer’s Chris Joyner, Andrew Hegmann, Steve Andrews, Jacob Black, Hunter Haygood, and Lauren Adams represented TIAA in its lease negotiations. Lincoln Property Co.’s Jake Young and Worthy Wiles represented the landlord.
Finalists: AMN Healthcare, Comerica Bank, Caterpillar, Texas Capital Bank
Best Urban Office Lease
In one of Dallas’ most competitive office submarkets, Texas Capital Bank inked a marquee naming rights deal at 2000 McKinney Ave., affirming the financial institution’s presence in Uptown for the next 15 years.
With a 15-year lease to Texas Capital Bank at 2000 McKinney in Uptown, Cushman & Wakefield and Stream Realty negotiated one of the largest—and most complex—office deals of the year. In commercial real estate, some transactions are more challenging than others. For Johnny Johnson, executive managing director at Cushman & Wakefield, a 202,642-square-foot lease to Texas Capital Bank represents the most convoluted in his 35-year career. It required buying out, relocating, reassigning, and amending leases with six tenants—in a building that is 98 percent occupied. If just one of the puzzle pieces couldn’t be made to fit, the whole deal would have fallen apart. Time sensitivity was also a challenge, as plenty of other Uptown landlords were eager to steal the prized tenant from building owner Union Investment Real Estate. In the end, Texas Capital Bank, represented by Randy Cooper and Craig Wilson at Stream Realty Partners, inked a lease to expand its presence to seven floors in the Uptown tower, which is being renamed Texas Capital Center.
Finalists: Bank OZK, Haynes and Boone, Lerma, McGuireWoods, Neiman Marcus Group, TRG
Commercial Real Estate Broker of the Year
A 30-year veteran of commercial real estate, Lynn Dowdle began her career in the retail division of The Staubach Co. before striking out on her own in 2011 when she founded Dowdle Real Estate. In doing so, she trailblazed a new area of specialization: hotel site selection. Her outlook for 2023? “Hotel development is back, and land is still hot,” she says. “All is well in Texas.”
Finalists: Randy Cooper, Stream Realty Partners; Johnny Johnson, Cushman & Wakefield; Seth Kelly, CBRE; Andy Leatherman, JLL; Steve Lieberman, The Retail Connection
Best New Multifamily Project
Developed by OM Housing
OM Housing is redefining affordable housing by merging affordable rents, modern amenities, and green living with its new Parc West property. Not only is it the first National Green Building Standard-certified multifamily project in Arlington, the eco-friendly 112-unit community boasts more than three-quarters of its units as affordable. During initial lease up, the property had a 300 percent application rate and consistently remains at 98 to 100 percent occupancy with a robust waiting list. It should come as no surprise, then, that Parc West has also garnered national recognition with a commendation from the U.S. Senate floor.
Finalists: The Bohéme, The Montgomery, Presidium Hill Street
Best New Office Project
At 26 stories, 23Springs will be the tallest office tower in Uptown when it opens in early 2025.
Granite Properties’ most extensive—and expensive—development to date has already secured an anchor tenant, Bank OZK, which will occupy four floors totaling more than 110,000 square feet for a new regional headquarters. Three low-rise buildings, called Cedar Maple Plaza, were demolished in the summer of 2022 to make way for the development, which will sit at 2323 Cedar Springs Road. Designed by GFF, it will feature six stories of underground parking, a two-story lobby with a coffee and wine bar, an indoor lounge with a golf simulator, a conference center and boardroom, outdoor lounge, and two detached restaurants on either side of the office tower. Additionally, a one-story building designed for restaurants with patio seating facing a half-acre, tree-lined park, and a two-story building is planned for another upscale restaurant.
Finalists: 3300 Olympus Blvd., Harwood No. 14, Ryan Tower, The QUAD, VariSpace Coppell
Emerging Commercial Real Estate Leader
Founder and CEO, Onu Ventures
After an injury shattered his dreams of playing professional football, former Southern Methodist University standout Mikial Onu founded his namesake firm, Onu Ventures, in 2021. He cut his teeth in the industry on the finance side, starting out at a private equity group out of college. Onu is one of the individuals leading the charge to bring more quality assets to southern Dallas without displacing its existing residents. In a little over two years, Onu Ventures has built, leased, and sold more than $20 million worth of real estate and successfully purchased land throughout Texas, boasting an estimated portfolio value of $125 million. “I went into development because I felt that underrepresented communities were missing not only quality development, but creative and innovative development that is unique to those neighborhoods and areas,” Onu says. “My mission has been and will always be to develop transformative assets to help create new, vibrant communities in underserved and marginalized areas.”
Is there a particular mentor who has helped you in your career?
Travis Boothe, Cushman & Wakefield
Brian Gilchrist, CBRE
Hudson Lambert, STRIVE
Clint Manning, Cresa
Andrew Mueller, Greysteel
Jayme Schutt, JLL
Allyson Yost, Colliers
Developer of the Year
Hunt Realty Investments has been involved in Dallas area real estate investments for more than 45 years, starting with land it acquired in 1975 for the iconic Reunion Tower. In 2007, it developed a headquarters for parent company Hunt Consolidated along Woodall Rodgers that soon will overlook an extension of Klyde Warren Park. But its activity has spiked in the last few years with projects that are set to truly transform the region. Projects include Fields, a sprawling, 2,544-acre development in Frisco co-owned with The Karahan Cos., Chief Partners, and CrossTie Capital that ultimately will include more than 10,000 homes, 18 million square feet of commercial space, two golf courses, and a hotel. And NorthEnd, an 11-acre development along Field Street near American Airlines Center that’s planned for 3.8 million-square-feet of mixed-use space, including a massive new 980,000-square-foot campus for Goldman Sachs.
Finalists: Granite Properties, Harwood International, Presidium